Visual Anthropology and Materiality

The theme Visual Anthropology and Materiality is based in recognition that technology, media and material culture are not merely products of culture but active sites of cultural practice.

This research theme connects the work of visual and cultural anthropologists with archaeologists who are investigating human visual communication and the cultural effects of the production, circulation and consumption of images and objects.

This inherently interdisciplinary theme encourages collaboration among anthropologists and artists, art historians, and scholars of cultural and media studies.

Departmental research that connects to this theme includes: collaborative art-based community research centred on the production of digital video and photographic art as both a subject of and method for research; studies of technological style and processes of material culture production; investigations of the role of images in the evolution of human cognition; and research on the diverse ways in which technology mediates and shapes bodies, social relationships, and subjectivities.

Take a look at the Ongoing Research page for more information on current research projects related to this theme.

Recent publications

  • 2018. Alexandrine Boudreault-Fournier. Guardians of the Night (15 min) (trailer):
  • 2018. La Tumba Mambi. In process of post-production. Trailer (SP. ENG-Sub):

  • 2017 - Alexandrine Boudreault-Fournier and Martha Radice, (eds), Urban Encounters: Art and the Public. McGill-Queen’s University Press: Culture of Cities Series.

  • 2017 - Alexandrine Boudreault-Fournier and Nick Wees, Creative Engagement with Interstitial Urban Spaces: The Case of the Vancouver’s Back Alleys. In Urban Encounters: Art and the Public. Edited by Martha Radice and Alexandrine Boudreault-Fournier. McGill University Press: Culture of Cities Series.

  • Forthcoming - McGuire, E. Whim rules the child: The archaeology of childhood in Scandinavian Scotland. Journal of the North Atlantic, Special Volume 11.

  • 2017 - McGuire, E. Burning the Midnight Oil: Archaeological Experiments with Viking Lamps. In N. Gonlin and A. Nowell (eds), Archaeology of the Night. University Press of Colorado.

  • 2017 - Baxter, Vey, McGuire, Conway, Blom. Reflections on Interdisciplinarity in the Study of Childhood in the Past. Childhood in the Past 10. 

  • 2016 - Erin McGuire, Move along: Migrant identities in Scandinavian Scotland. In E. Pierce, A. Maldonado, and A. Russell (eds), Creating Material Worlds. Oxbow Books.

  • (Forthcoming 2019) - Nowell, A. and Cooke, A.  Culturing the body: adornment and ornamentation. In Oxford Handbook of Human Symbolic Evolution, edited by Andrew Lock, Chris Sinha and Nathalie Gontier.  Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

  • 2017 - Nowell, A.  Art as social practice in the Paleolithic. Contribution to Special issue:  Art: Art, Material Culture, Visual Culture, or Something Else. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 27(4): 599-606.

  • 2019 - Rudnyckyj, Daromir. Beyond Debt: Islamic Experiments in Global Finance. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

  • 2017 - Rudnyckyj, Daromir. “Debating Form, Consuming Substance: Halal Authenticity in Malaysian Islamic Finance,” Practical Matters. 10: 1-14.

  • 2018 - Ann Stahl, Efficacious Objects and Techniques of the Subject: “Ornaments” and their Depositional Contexts in Banda, Ghana. In Relational Identities and Other-than-Human Agency in Archaeology, edited by Eleanor Harrison-Buck and Julia Hendon, pp. 197-236. Boulder: University Press of Colorado.